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certain order of divinnies presided; and that, lous, and frequently cruel and obscene Mos therefore, none could behold with contempt the nations offered animals, and some proveeded gods of other nations, or force strangers to pay to the enormity of human sacrifices. As to homage to theirs. The Romans exercised this their prayers, they were void of piety and toleration in the amplest manner; for, though sense, both with respect to their matter and they would not allow any changes to be maile their form.* Pontiffs, priests, and ministers, in the religions that were publicly professed in distributed into several classes, presided in this the empire, nor any new form of worship to strange worship, and were appointed to prebe openly introduced, yet they granted to their | vent disorder in the performance of the sacred citizens a full liberty of observing, in private, rites; but, pretending to be distinguished by the sacred rites of other nations, and of an immediate intercourse and friendship with honouring foreign deities (whose worship con- the gods, they abused their authority in the tained nothing inconsistent with the interests basest manner, 10 deceive an ignorant and and laws of the republic) with feasts, temples, || wretched people consecrated groves, and the like testimonies XI. The religious worship we have now of homage and respect.

been considering, was confined to stated times IX. The deities of almost all nations were and places. The statues and other represeneither ancient heroes, renowned for noble ex- | tations of the gods were placed in the temples, ploits and beneficent deeds, or kings and gene- || and supposed to be animated in an incompre: rals who had founded empires, or women hensible manner; for the votaries of these rendered illustrious by remarkable actions or fictitious deities, however destitute they might useful inventions. The merit of these distin-be of reason in other respects, avoided carefully guished and eminent persons, contemplated by the imputation of worshipping inanimate betheir posterity with an enthusiastic gratitude, ings, such as brass, wood, and stone, and was the reason of their being exalted to ce- therefore pretended that the divinity, reprelestial honours. The natural world furnished sented by the statue,.was really present in it, another kind of deities, who were added to if the dedication was duly and properly made. these by some nations; and as the sun, moon, XII. But, besides the public worship of the and stars, shine forth with a lustre superior to gods, to which all without exception were adthat of all other material beings, so it is cer- mitted, certain rites were practised in secret by lain, that they particularly attracted the atten- | the Greeks and several eastern nations, to tion of mankind, and received religious hom- which a very small number had access. These age from almost all the nations of the world.t || were commonly called mysteries; and the perFrom these beings of a nobler kind, idolatry || sons who desired to be initiated therein, were descended into an enormous multiplication of obliged previously to exhibit satisfactory proofs inferior powers; so that, in many countries, of their fidelity and patience, by passing mountains, trees, and rivers, the earth, the sea, through various trials and ceremonies of the and the winds, and even virtues, vices, and most disagreeable kind. These secrets were diseases, had their shrines attended by devout kept in the strictest manner, as the initiand zealous worshippers. I

ated could not reveal any thing that passed on X. These deities were honoured with rites those occasions, without exposing their lives and sacrifices of various kinds, according to to the most imminent danger; and that is the their respective nature and offices.ş. The rites || reason why, at this time, we are so little acused in their worship were absurd and ridicu- quainted with the true nature, and the real

design of these hidden rites. It is, however, * See concerning this interesting subject, a very curious | well known, that in some of those mysteries, and learned treatise of the famous Bynkershoek, entitled, Dissertatio de cultu peregrinæ religionis apud Romanos: | many things were transacted which were conThis dissertation is to be found in the Opuscula of that trary both to real modesty and outward deexcellent author, which were published at Leyden in the cency. And, indeed, from the whole of the

.f The ingenious editor of the Ruins of Balbec has | pagan rites, the intelligent few might easily given us, in the prcface to that noble work, a very curi- | learn, that the divinities generally worshipped ous account of the origin of the religious worship that were rather men famous for their vices, than was offered to the heavenly bodies, by the Syrians and distinguished by virtuous and worthy deeds.|| Arabians. In thosc uncomfortable deserts, where the day presents nothing to the vicw, but the uniform, tedi.

XIII. It is, at least, certain, that this relious, and melancholy prospect of barren sands, the night |gion had not the least influence towards exappears arrayed with charms of the most attractive kind; the minds of men. For the gods and goddesges, discloses a most delightful and magnificent spectacle, and citing or nourishing solid and true virtue in for the most part unclouded and serene, it exhibits to the wondering eye the host of heaven, in all their amaz

to whom public homage was paid, exhibited to ing variety and glory. In the view of this stupendous their worshippers rather examples of egregious scene, the transition from admiration to idolatry was too crimes, than of useful and illustrious vir easy to uninstructed minds; and a people, whose climate offered no beauties to contemplate but those of the firmament, would naturally be disposed to look thither * See M. Brouerius a Nicdeck, de adorationibus veto for the objects of their worship. The form of idolatry, || rum Populorum, printed at Utrecht in 1711. in Greece, was different from that of the Syrians; and † Some nations were without temples, such as the PerMr. Wood ingeniously attributes this to that smiling and sians, Gaull, Germans, and Britons, who performed their Variegated scene of mountains, valleys, rivers, groves, || religious worship in the open air, or in the shadowy rewoods, and fountains, which the transported imagination, treats of consecrated grores. in the midst of its pleasing astonishment, supposed to be See Arnobius adv. Gentes, lib. vi.-Augustin de cirithe seats of invisible deities. See a farther account of tate Dei, lib. vii. cap. xxxiii. and the Misopogon of the this matter in the elegant work above mentioned. Emperor Julian.

See the learned work of J. G. Vossius, de idololatria. See Clarkson on the Liturgies, sect. iv. and Meursiar See J. Saubertus, de sacrificiis vcterum. Lug. Bat. de Mysteriis Eleusiniis. 1699.

|| See Cicero, Disput. Tusculan. lib. ii.

сар.

xiii Voj.. 1.-3

year 1719.

tues.* The gods, moreover, were esteemed few saw the cheat, they were obliged, from a superior to men in power and immortality; | regard to their own safety, to laugh with caubut, in every thing else, they were considered tion, since the priests were ever ready to acas their equals.—The priests were little solicit-cuse, before a raging and superstit ous multious to animate the people to a virtuous con- | tude, those who discovered their religious duct, either by their precepts or their exam- frauds, as rebels against the majesty of the ple. They plainly enough declared, that immortal gods. whatever was essential to the true worship of XV At the time of Christ's appearance the gods, was contained only in the rites and upon earth, the religion of the Romans, as institutions which the people had received by well as their arms, had extended itself over a tradition from their ancestors.t And as to great part of the world. This religion must what regarded the rewards of virtue and the be known to those who are acquainted with punishment of vice after the present life, the the Grecian superstitions. * In some things, general notions were partly uncertain, partly indeed, it differs from them; for the Romans, licentious, and often more calculated to ad- beside the institutions which Numa and cthers minister indulgence to vice, than encourage- had invented with political views, added seveinent to virtue. Hence, the wiser part of ral Italian fictions to the Grecian fables, and mankind, about the time of Christ's birth, gave also to the Fgyptian deities a place looked upon this whole system of religion as a among their own.t just object of ridicule and contempt.

XVII. In the provinces subjected to the RoXIV. The consequences of this wretched man government, there arose a new kind of theology were a universal corruption and de- religion, formed by a mixture of the ancient pravity of manners, which appeared in the rites of the conquered nations with those of impunity of the most flagitious crimes. I Ju- the Romans. These nations, who, before their vena) and Persius among the Latins, and Lu- subjection, had their own gods, and their own cian among the Greeks, bear testimony to the particular religious institutions, were persuadjustice of this heavy accusation. It is also ed, by degrees, to admit into their worship a well known, that no public law prohibited the great number of the sacred rites and customs sports of the gladiators, the exercise of un- of their conquerors. The view of the Romans, natural lusts, the licentiousness of divorce, in this change, was not only to confirm their the custom of exposing infants, and of pro- authority by the powerful aid of religion, but curing abortions, or the frontless atrocity of also to abolish the inhuman rites:which were publicly consecrating stews and brothels to performed by many of the barbarous nations certain divinities.

who had received their yoke; and this change XV. Such as were not sunk in an unac- was effected partly by the prudence of the countable and brutish stupidity, perceived the victors, partly by the levity of the vanquished, deformity of these religious systems. To and by their ambition to please their new these, the crafty priests addressed two conside- || masters. rations, to prevent their incredulity, and to XVIII. When, from the sacred rites of the dispel their doubts. The first was drawn from ancient Romans, we pass to a review of the the miracles and prodigies which they pre-other religions that prevailed in the world, we tended were daily wrought in the temples, be shall find, that the most remarkable may be fore the statues of the gods and heroes that properly divided into two classes. One of were placed there; and the second was de- these will comprehend the religious systems duced from oracles and divination, by which that owed their existence to political views; they maintained, that the secrets of futurity and the other, those which seem to have been were unfolded through the interposition of formed for military purposes. In the former the gods. In both these points the cunning class may be ranked the religions of most of of the priests imposed miserably upon the the eastern nations, especially of the Persians, jgnorance of the people; and, if the discerning Egyptians, and Indians, which appear to have

been solely calculated for the preservation of * There is a very remarkable passage to this purpose the state, the support of the royal authority in the Tristia of Órid, lib. ii.

and grandeur, the maintenance of public peace, “Quis locus est templis augustior? hæc quoque vitet, and the advancement of civil virtues. Under

In culpam si quæ est ingeniosa suam.
Cum steterit Jovis æde, Jovis succurret in æde,

the military class may be comprehended the Quam multas matres fecerit ille Deus.

religious system of the northern nations, since Proxima adoranti Junonia templa subibit,

all the traditions that we find among the GerPellicibus multis hanc doluisse Deam.

mans, the Britons, the Celts, and the Goths, Pallade conspecta, natum de crimine virgo Sustulerit quare quæret Erichthonium.”

concerning their divinities, have a manifest + See Barbeyrac's Preface to his French translation of tendency to excite and nourish fortitude and l'affendorf's System of the Law of Nature and Nations, ferocity, an insensibility of danger, and a

contempt of life. An attentive inquiry into The corrupt manners of those who then lay in the the religions of these respective nations, will darkness of idolatry are described in an ample and affecting manner, in the first of Cyprian's epistles. See abundantly verify what is here asserted. also, on this subject, Cornel. Adami Exercitatio de malis XIX. None of these nations, indeed, ever Romanorum ante prædicationem Evangelii moribus. This arrived at such a universal excess of barbarisnı is the fifth discourse of a collection published by that and ignorance, as not to have some discerning jearned writer at Groningen, in 1712.

W

See Dr. John Leland's excellent account of the religious sentiments, moral conduct, and future prospects * See Dionysius Halicarn. Antiq. Rom. lib. vii. cap. of the pagans, in his large work entitled, The Advantage || Ixxii. und Nebearity of the Christian Revelation.

See Petit ad leges Atticas lib. i. tit. 1.

sect. vi.

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nien among them, wa) were sensible of the was mortal; that pleasure* was to be regarded extravagance of all these religions. But, of as the ultimate end of inan; and that virtue these sagacious observers, some were destitute was neither worthy of esteem nor of choice. of the weight and authority that were neces- but with a view to its attainment.” The sary to remedy those overgrown evils; and Academics asserted the impossibility of arriving others wanted the will to exert themselves in at truth, and held it uncertain, whether such a g'orious cause. And the truth is, none the gods existed or not; whether the soul was of them had wisdcm equal to such a solemn mortal or immortal; whether virtue ought to and arduous enterprise. This appears mani- || be preferred to vice, or vice to virtue " These fostly from the laborious but useless efforts of two sects, though they struck at the foundasome of the Greek and Roman philosophers || tions of all religion, were the most numerous against the vulgar superstitions. These venera- | of all at the birth of Christ, and were particible sages delivered, in their writings, many larly encouraged by the liberality of the rich, sublime things concerning the nature of God, and the protection of those who were in and the duties incumbent upon men; they dis- | power. I puted with sagacity against the popular reli- XXII. We observed in the preceding section, vion; but to all this they added such chimeri-| that there was another kind of philosophy, in cal notions and such absurd subtilties of their which religion was admitted, but which was, own, as may serve to convince us that it be- | at the same time, deficient by the obscurity it longs to God alone, and not to man, to reveal cast upon truth. Under the philosophers of the truth without any mixture of impurity or this class, may be reckoned the Platonists, the

Stoics, and the followers of Aristotle, whose XX. About the time of Christ's appearance | subtile disputations concerning God, religion, upon earth, there were two kinds of philoso- and the social duties, were of little solid use phy which prevailed among the civilized na-to mankind. The nature of God, as it is extions. One was the philosophy of the Greeks, | plained by Aristotle, resembles the principle adopted also by the Romans; and the other, that gives motion to a machine; it is a nature that of the orientals, which had a great nun- | happy in the contemplation of itself, and enber of votaries in Persia, Syria, Chaldea, tirely regardless of human affairs; and such a Egypt, and even among the Jews. The for- | divinity, who differs but little from the god of mer was distinguished by the simple title of Epicurus, cannot reasonably be the object philosophy. The latter was honoured with the either of love or fear. With respect to the more pompous appellation of science or know-doctrine of this philosopher concerning the ledge, * since those who embraced the latter human soul, it is uncertain, to say no more, sect pretended to be the restorers of the know- || whether he believed its immortality or not. ledge of God, which was lost in the world. What then could be expected from such a The followers of both these systems, in conse- || philosophy? could any thing solid and satisfacquence of vehement disputes and dissentionstory, in favour of piety and virtue, be hoped about several points, subdivided themselves for from a system which excluded from the into a variety of sects. It is, however, to be universe a divine Providence, and insinuated observed, that all the sects of the oriental phi- | the mortality of the human soul? losophy deduced their various tenets from one XXIII. The god of the Stoics has somefundamental principle, which they held in com- what more majesty than the divinity of Arismon; whereas the Greeks were much divided totle; nor is he represented by those philosaeven about the first principles of science. phers as sitting above the starry heavens in a

As we shall have occasion hereafter to speak | supine indolence, and a perfect inattention to of the oriental philosophy, we shall confine the affairs of the universe. Yet he is described ourselves here to the doctrines taught by the as a corporeal being, united to matter by a Grecian sages, and shall give some account necessary connexion, and subject to the de. of the various sects into which they were terminations of an immutable fate, so that divided.

neither rewards nor punishments can properly XXI. Of the Grecian sccts, soine declared openly against all religion; and others, though || putes in the explication of the Epicurean system. If

* The ambiguity of this word has produced many dis they acknowledged a deity, and admitted a re- || by pleasure be understood only sensual gratifications, the "liğion, yet cast a cloud over the truth, instead || tenet here advanced is indisputably monstrous. of exhibiting it in its genuine beauty and it be taken in a larger sense, and extended to intellectual

and moral objects, in what does the scheme of Epicurus, lustre.

with respect to virtue, differ from the opinions of those Of the former kind were the Epicureans Christian philosophers, who maintain that self-love is the and Academics. The Epicureans maintained, || only spring of all human affections and actions? " That the world arose from chance that the of the two, as appears from the testimony of Cicero de

The Epicurean sect was, however, the more numerous gods (whose existence they did nou dare to Finibus, &c. lib. i. cap. vii. lib. ii. cap. xiv. Disput. Tusdeny) neither did nor could extend their provi- culan. lib. v. cap. x. Hence the complaint which Juvenal dential care to human affairs; that the soul makes in his xiiith Satire, of the atheism that prevailed a

Rome, in those excellent words:

“ Sunt in fortunæ qui casibus omnia ponant, * Tvrais (gnosis) in the Greek signifies science or Et nullo credant mundum rectore moveri, wyowledge; and hence came the title of Gnostics, which Natura volvente vices et lucis et anni; ta is presumptuous sect claimed as due to their superior Atque ideo intrepidi quæcunque altaria tangunt.” light and penctration in divine things.

See the Notes upon Cudworth's Intellectual System + St. Paul mentions and condemns both these kinds of or the Universe, which Dr. Mosheim subjoined to his philosophy; the Greek, in the Epistle to the Colossians, Latin translation of that learned work, vol. i. p. 66, 500 ... 8., and the Oriental, or Gnosis, in the First Epistle to vol. ii. p. 1171. See also, upun the same subject, Mour This thy, ri. 20.

gui's Plan Theologiquc du Pythagorisme, toin. i:

But if

proceed from him.* The learned also know to abandon and reject the rest. This gave rise ihat, in the philosophy of this sect, the exist- to a new form of philosophy in Egypt, and ence of the soul was confined to a certain pe- principally at Alexandria, which was called riod. Now it is manifest, that these tenets re- the Eclectic, whose founder, according to some, move, at once, the strongest motives to virtue, was Potamon, an Alexandrian, though this and the most powerful restraints upon vice; opinion is not without its difficulties

It me and, therefore, the Stoical system may be con- nifestly appears from the testimony of Philo gidered as a body of specious and pompous doc- | the Jew, who was himself one of this sect, tha: trine, but, at the same time, as a body without this philosophy was in a flourishing state at r.erves, or any principles of consistency and Alexandria, when our Saviour was upon the vigour.

earth. The Eclectics held Plato in the highest XXIV. Plato is generally looked upon as estcem, though they made no scruple to join, superior to all the other philosophers in wis- with his doctrines, whatever they thought condom; and this eminent rank does not seem to formable to reason in the tenets and opinions have been undeservedly conferred upon him. of the other philosophers. * He taught that the universe was governed by XXVI. The attentive reader will easily cona Being, glorious in power and wisdom, and clude, from the short view which we have hero possessing perfect liberty and independence. given of the miserable state of the world at the He extended also the views of mortals beyond birth of Christ, that mankind, in this period of the grave, and showed them, in futurity, pros- darkness and corruption, stood highly in need pects adapted to excite their hopes, and to of some divine teacher to convey to the mind work upon their fears. His doctrine, however, I true and certain principles of religion and wisbesides the weakness of the foundations on | dom, and to recall wandering mortals to the which it rests, and the obscurity with which it sublime paths of piety and virtue. The con is often expressed, has other considerable de- sideration of this wretched condition of manfects. It represents the Supreme Creator of kind will be also singularly useful to those who the world as destitute of many perfections, are not sufficiently acquainted with the advanand confined to a certain determinate portion tages, the comforts, and the support which the of space. Its decisions, with respect to the sublime doctrines of Christianity are so proper soul and demons, seem calculated to beget and to administer in every state, relation, and cirnourish superstition. Nor will the moral phi- cumstance of life. Å set of miserable and unlosophy of Plato appear worthy of such a high thinking creatures treat with negligence, and degree of admiration, if we attentively exam- sometimes with contempt, the religion of Jesus, ine and compare its various parts, and reduce not considering that they are indebted to it for them to their principles. I

all the good things which they so ungratefully XXV. As then, by these different sects, there | enjoy. were many things maintained that were highly unreasonable and absurd, and as a contentious

CIIAPTER II. spirit of opposition and dispute prevailed among thein all, some men of true discernment, and Concerning the Civil and Religious State of the of moderate characters, were of opinion, that

Jewish Nation at the Birth of Christ. none of these sects ought to be adhered to in I. The state of the Jews was not much bet. all points, but that it was rather wise to choose ter than that of the other nations at the time and extract out of each of them such tenets of Christ's appearance in the world. They and doctrines as were good and reasonable, and were governed by Herod, who was himself a * Thus is the Stoical doctrine of fate generally repre

tributary to the Roman people. This prince sented, but not more generally than unjustly. Their fa- was surnamed the Great, surely from no other turn, when carefully and attentively examined, seems to circumstance than the greatness of his vices, have signified no more in the intention of the wisest of and his government was a yoke of the most that sect, than the plan of government formed originally vexatious and oppressive kind. By a cruel, susin the divine mind, a plan all-wise and perfect, and from which, of consequence, the Supreme Being, morally speak- picious, and overbearing temper, he drew upon ing, can never depart; so that, when Jupiter is said by the himself the aversion of all, not excepting those stvics to be subject to immutable fate, this means no more who lived upon his bounty. By a mad luxury than that he is subject to the wisdom of his own counsels, and an affectation of magnificence far above and ever acts in conformity with his supreme perfections. 'The following remarkable passage of Seneca, drawn from his fortune, together with the most profuse and the 5th chapter of his book de Providentia, is sufficient to imnaoderate largesses, he exhausted the ticaconfirm the explication we have here given of the Stoical sures of that miserable nation. Under his ad

“ Ille ipse omnium conditor et rector scripsis, qui-ministration, and by his means, the Roman demi sata, sed sequitur. Semper paret, semel jussit.”

+ This accusation seems to be carried too far by Dr. luxury was received in Palestine, accompanied Mosheim. It is not strictly true, that the doctrine of || with the worst vices of that licentious people.t Plato represents the Supreme Being as destitute of many | In a word, Judea, governed by Herod, groaned persections. On the contrary, all the divine perfections are frequently acknowledged by that philosopher. What under all that corruption, which might be ex probably gave occasion to this animadversion of our learn- | pected from the authority and the example of ed author, was the erroneous notion of Plato, concerning he invincible malignity and corruption of matter, which * See Godof. Olearius de Philosophia Eclectica, Jac. he divine power had not been sufficient to reduce entirely || Brucker, and others. to order. Though this notion is, indeed, injurious to the See, on this subject, Christ. Noldii Historia Idumæa omnipotence of God, it is not sufficient to justify the cen- which is annexed to Havercamp's edition of Josephus, sure now under consideration.

vol. ii. p. 333. See also Basi..ge, Histoire Des Juifs, tom. 1. There is an ample account of the defects of the Pla- | i. part i.--- Noris, Cenotaph. Pisan.-- Prideaux, Hiswry tonic philosophy in a work entitled Defense des Peres ac- l of the Jews.-Cellarius, Historia Herodum, in the first euses de Platonisme, par Franç. Baltus; but there is more part of his Academical Dissertations, and, above all, Jo murning than accuracy or 'hai performance

sephus the Jewish historian.

füte.

a

a

a prince, who, though a Jew in outward pro-|| extortions, armed against thenı both the jus fession, was in point of morals and practice, a | tice of God and the vengeance of men. contemner of all laws, divine and human. V. Two religions flourished at this time in

II. After the death of this tyrant, the Ro-Palestine, viz. the Jewish and the Samaritan, mans divided the government of Palestine whose respective followers beheld those of the among his sons. In this division, one half of opposite sect with the utmost aversion. The Judea was given to Archelaus, with the title of Jewish religion stands exposed to our view in exarch; and the other was divided between his the books of the Old Testament; but, at the brothers, Antipas and Philip. Archelaus was time of Christ's appearance, it had lost much a corrupt and wicked prince, and followed the || of its original nature and of its primitive agexample of his father's crimes in such a man-| pect. Errors of a very pernicious kind had in ner, that the Jews, weary of his iniquitous ad- fected the whole body of the people, and the ministration, laid their complaints and griev-more learned part of the nation were divided ances before Augustus, who delivered them upon points of the highest consequence. AN from their oppressor, by banishing him from his looked for a deliverer, but not for such a one dominions, about ten years after the death of as God had promised. Instead of a meek and Herod the Great. The kingdom of this de-spiritual Saviour, they expected a formidable throned prince was reduced to the form of aand warlike prince, to break off their chains, province, and added to the jurisdiction of the and set them at liberty from the Roman yoke. governor of Syria, to the great detriment of All regarded the whole of religion, as consisting the Jews, whose heaviest calamities arose from in the rites appointed by Moses, and in the perthis change, and whose final destruction was formance of some external acts of duty toits undoubted effect in the appointment of Pro-| wards the Gentiles. They were all horribly vidence.

unanimous in excluding from the hopes of III. However severe was the authority which eternal life all the other nations of the world; the Romans exercised over the Jews, it did not and, as a consequence of this odious system, extend to the entire suppression of their civil they treated them with the utmost rigour and and religious privileges.--The Jews were, in inhumanity, when any occasion was offered. some measure, governed by their own laws; And, besides these corrupt and vicious princiand they were tolerated in the enjoyment of ples, there prevailed among them several abthe religion they had received from the glori- surd and superstitious notions concerning the ous founder of their church and state. The divine nature, invisible powers, magic, &c. administration of religious ceremonies was com- which they had partly brought with them from Initted, as before, to the high priest, and to the the Babylonian captivity, and partly derived sanhedrim, to the former of whom the priests from the Egyptians, Syrians, and Arabians, and Levites were in the usual subordination; who lived in their neighbourhood. and the form of outward worship, except in a

VI. Religion had not a better fate among very few points, had suffered no visible change. the learned than among the multitude. The But, on the other hand, it is impossible to ex-supercilious doctors, who vaunted their propress the inquietude and disgust, the calamities found knowledge of the law, and their deep and vexations, which this unhappy nation suf-science in spiritual and divine things, were confered from the presence of the Romans, whom stantly showing their fallibility and their ignotheir religion obliged them to look upon as a rance by their religious differences, and were polluted and idolatrous people, and in a more divided into a great variety of sects. Of these particular manner, from the avarice and cruel-sects, three in a great measure eclipsed the ty of the prætors and the frauds and extortions rest, both by the number of their adherents, of the publicans; so that, all things considered, and also by the weight and authority which the condition of those who lived under the go- they acquired. These were the Pharisees, the vernment of the other sons of Herod, was much Sadducees, and the Essenes.* There is fremore supportable than the state of those who quent mention made of the two former in the were immediately subject to the Roman juris-sacred writings; but the knowledge of the rites diction.

and doctrines of the last, is to be derived from IV. It was not, however, from the Romans | Josephus, Philo, and other historians. These alone, that the calamities of this miserable peo- three illustrious sects agreed in the fundamenple proceeded. Their own rulers multiplied | tal principles of the Jewish religion, and, at their vexations, and hindered them from enjoy-|| the same time, were involved in endless dising any little comforts that were left to them putes upon points of the highest importance, by the Roman magistrates. The leaders of the and about matters in which the salvation of people, and the chief priests, were, according | mankind was directly concerned; and their to the account of Josephus, profligate wretches, controversies could not but be highly detriwho had purchased their places by bribes, or by mental to the rude and illiterate multitude, as acts of iniquity, and who maintained their ill every one must easily perceive. acquired authority by the most flagitious and VII. It may not be improper to mention abominable crimes. The subordinate and in- ||here some of the principal matters that wero ferior niembers were infected with the corruption of the inead; the priests, and those who

* Besides these more illustrious sects, there were sevepossessed any shadow of authority, were disso-ral of inferior note, which prevailed among the Jews a* Buate and abandoned to the highest degree; the time of Christ's appearance. The Herodians are while the people, seduced by these corrupt ex

mentioned by the sacred writers, the Gaulonites by Joseimples, ran headlong into every sort of iniqui- ! bius; and we cannot reasonably look upon all these sects

phus, and others by Epiphanius and Hegesippus in Eusety, and by their endless seditions, robberies, and ll as sictitious

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